So the dust has settled and I’ve had time to reflect on Sunday’s Paddock Wood half marathon. If somebody had told me on Saturday what my time was going to be and how the run was going to evolve, I’d have wondered why I was bothering to turn up. Today I’m more philosophical about it. And to be honest I wasn’t even that disappointed Sunday afternoon. I knew what had gone wrong - my continuing struggle with learning to pace myself.
I was going to Google “pacing” to see what came up but Runners World was reading my mind and very helpfully posted the following definition a few days ago:-
“Pacing is a science: start off too fast and you’ll burn glycogen at a higher rate than your body can handle, leaving you struggling for energy at the stage where you need it most” – how true! It then continued “Start off too slow and that target time will just keep disappearing away as the race progresses.” Yes, but I think that’s what I need to do, start off a little slower!
Back to Sunday. I won’t bore you with too much detail, suffice it to say, the first few miles seemed to me to be run at a relatively relaxed pace. No need to try and dash past other runners; there was plenty of space and even the “hill of note” at 1.25 miles didn’t prove too much of a problem. However, my Garmin was giving me warning signs which I chose to ignore. First mile, just under 9 minutes, and the following two miles a bit quicker. By the time I got to six miles, there was a point where this fleeting thought flashed across my mind. If this carries on I could get a PB and even get in a sub 2 hours. My mind imagined the glory of telling everyone my achievements even though I have been here many times before!
And guess what, about half a mile later, at the half way point, I started to struggle. In fact, I told myself, “Get to the seven mile marker and you can have a little 30 second walk”. The plan was then to do a “little walk” at the start of each mile and then run to the next mile marker. This didn’t happen. It seemed at one point that there was a bit more walking than running and when I got to “the railway bridge”, my reaction was “No way!” I did though get a bit of a second wind towards the end. Also, much needed moral support from runner number 787 who encouraged me to run with him from time to time. We met up again on the outskirts of Paddock Wood less than a mile from the finish and this time it was my turn to say, “Let’s get to that marshal and then run to the finish line.” Although I think that was more for my benefit than his! But we did J
I seriously thought my regular running with parkrun had got me out of the bad habit of going off too fast. I also thought running with other people had calmed me down. I thought wrong!
As far as the run as a whole goes, it was very well organised and the support from marshals and bystanders outstanding. The scenery was mostly rural and idyllic although there does come a point where you think, “Oh god, not another blinking oast house”! During the run, obviously after the half-way point, I thought “I’m not doing this again” but by the end of the day it was more “I’m definitely doing this again, if only to prove I can do better.”
So I didn’t achieve either of my goals on Sunday – to run a half marathon with no walking and to beat my previous Paddock Wood time. But on a positive note, if I can repeat the first half of Sunday’s performance at my next three runs (BUPA London 10000, City of London Mile and the Anniversary Run – 5 miles) I shall be a very happy bunny. And then perhaps I can aim to do better at the Royal Parks Half in October. I can but live in hope!
I got two running medals this weekend. This is the Shorne Woods parkrun female annual points competition second place medal (wow, that's a mouthful). This is the one I'm most proud of :-)
And can someone please teach me how to edit photo sizes!!!!